Things to notice when dining out and shopping
We had dinner this week at two small restaurants that charged an additional 3% and 3.25% for using a credit card. That might not sound like much to most diners, but it says loud and clear that “you pay more for everything you do and buy when you use a credit card” and that we all pay more. in most of the cases.
The merchant fees that retailers pay may not be clearly shown or seen in the form of these surcharges as with these restaurants, which is something new after the pandemic, but these fees are built into the costs of goods and services that we all buy from. In fact, in cases like these restaurants, it’s really a “double whammy”, as it didn’t seem to me that the menu prices were lower than in the past. You don’t have to look any further to see that these merchant fees are built into the cost of goods than at gas stations that advertise a regular price and a cash discount.
While on the topic of restaurants, we’ve talked a lot about the labor shortage and the challenges many businesses face in finding labor. One place I really noticed is in several restaurants where it takes longer than usual for meals to be served. It seems to me that they don’t have as much trouble finding waiters as they find reliable and skilled kitchen staff, such as line cooks. To be comprehensive. It is not intentional. The restaurateurs I’ve spoken to are more frustrated than you are, believe me.
On another topic, I paid my school taxes last week, and I was relieved that they only increased this year by about 2% of the New York State cap. On the other hand, I expected and expected it because, unlike in some years past, no procedure had been taken in our district to override the cap. I know the increases in other districts may be larger this year, and this is something you absolutely need to be aware of and budget for. If you have a mortgage and property taxes are locked in, your mortgage payment will increase. If you’re like me, your mortgage is paid off, and you’ve established your own monthly escrow for property taxes and insurance, you’ll need to adjust it as these expenses increase so you still have the money. to pay them. as they arise.
Speaking of these house-related expenses, I predict that my home insurance, which seems to increase at least a little each year, will increase more this year due to two hot things. First, the increase in nationwide floods and fires, which undoubtedly increase carrier losses. Second, the increase in inflation, since most policies cover the replacement value, and with this increase in inflation, the replacement values should also increase. Other things that can increase your landlord’s premiums that we discuss often are a decrease in your credit rating – so pay all of your bills on time and keep your debt-to-income ratios and credit availability low – and credit problems. deferred maintenance, such as an older roof. So stay on top of these “anticipated expenses”.
Speaking of tax escrow and insurance, each month I transfer my calculated monthly amount from my checking account to my savings account at the Pittsford Federal Credit Union branch in Tobey Village and then the amount of all taxes. or assurances owed from my savings to the checking account, so that I can pay these bills. This way I earn interest on the blocked amounts, at a rate, I believe, higher than that paid by the mortgage companies. The credit union service reps are “the best” about these little rituals, and we usually have a good laugh.
As is our tradition, here are some of the days in October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, that I will be celebrating: October 1 – National Homemade Cookies Day and World Smile Day; October 2 – World Frugal Pleasure Day (my favorite); October 4 – National Taco Day; Oct – World Teachers’ Day; October 10 – National Handbag Day (my wife makes me celebrate this); October 12 – National Pulled Pork Day and National Savings Day (a big deal); October 14 – National Dessert Day; October 17 – National Pasta Day; October 21 – International Nacho Day; and October 22 – National Nut Day. It is also National Pizza Month.
It now appears that inflation could be higher and longer than expected earlier in September. That said, it’s time to take the comparison shopping, store brands, unit prices, coupons, sales, discount stores, and the many frugal vs cheap tips we’re talking about seriously. It’s also important to look at things like: is a store brand always cheaper than a premium brand with a coupon? Also, are there things that are rising dramatically in prices that you can do without during this time of higher inflation? (Like chicken wings!)
On a final topic, but still on the topic of store brands, which we’ve talked about a lot, a recent post on Wegmans confirmed that stores nationwide are working to increase the number and quality of their store brand offerings. and private label, which are more profitable for them. The article was about resetting some of its local stores, which will no doubt allow stores to better “place the products” of their store brands. This is another topic that we talked about. Where a product is placed – what aisle, what shelf or end cap, what lighting, and so much more – is real science, designed to inspire us to buy and spend more. So always be a conscious buyer. Bring a list and stick to it!
John Ninfo is a retired bankruptcy judge and the founder of the National CARE Financial Literacy Program. Find his previous weekly columns at http://www.mpnnow.com/search?text=Ninfo.